Let’s face it. Shimla is no longer the ‘Simla’ of my childhood recollections. Along with the change in nomenclature, came the devastation of this once gracious hill-station. I need not elaborate as old-timers would know what I mean and the uninitiated, well, to them it is not a matter of import. For years together I have bye-passed Shimla, heading out instead to more attractive, more satisfying vacation destinations beyond. If ever I halted here, it was primarily during the off-season. On one such visit, I had to wait for a friend to come free and join me on a quick dry-run of an itinerary for a later extended visit. Instead of twiddling my thumbs while I waited, I got into the habit of leisurely walking around the place. Consequently, and if I looked real sharp, some of Simla’s receded charm began to re-surface. At least in its colonial buildings and their quaint features. I call it Secret Simla.